From a treasurer’s perspective, the Middle East is an exciting place. The weather and tax-free lifestyle are big positives, but areas such as the United Arab Emirates are seeing signs of strong economic recovery, partly thanks to it being a safe haven from the Arab Spring.
Treasury functions in Middle Eastern companies are generally not as sophisticated as those in their Western counterparts. Therein lies a tempting challenge for those treasurers who are looking for something a bit less routine and more out of the ordinary.
If this sounds like something that would appeal to you, the good news is that more companies are recognising the importance of treasury and the need for dedicated resources in this area that are independent of financial controllers and FDs. Previously, treasury was limited to cash management and the most exotic activity took the form of bilateral loans. But attitudes towards treasury are evolving, which can be seen by local banks’ increasing capability to offer solutions.
Evidence of the growth in treasury in the Middle East is also reflected by the ACT’s ever-greater presence in the region and an increase in the uptake of the AMCT qualification. The new Chartered status of the ACT will only add to its international credibility and there is a growing expectation among Middle East companies that job seekers should hold this qualification.
From a treasurer’s perspective, the Middle East is an exciting place.
In terms of salary, treasurers can expect to earn more or on par with the UK. But, crucially, without being subject to income tax. Companies are aware that they need to ‘buy in’ talent. The costs of living are high, but so are the standards of living and, when compared with London and Home County prices, there’s not much difference from the UK.
Schooling in the Middle East is excellent and there is a choice of UK, US or International Baccalaureate systems. Education is private and, as part of an expatriate package, you can expect support for up to three children.
Challenge and opportunity
For those who want a challenge and have the ability to affect change tactfully in a complex region, the rewards are boundless. Treasurers in the Middle East can get a real sense of achievement in laying the foundations locally for best practice within huge companies. Many often question whether the same opportunities would have presented themselves within more mature markets.
Call Jason Grundy today to discuss a move to the Middle East, on +971 (0) 4 818 0199.